Friday, June 20, 2008


Rat attack—why we must defend our borders

by Larry Geller

King Tower one day later I am happy to report that despite the evil suicide rat attack on our condo, we have reached what I think is a turning point. Over the next few days, I have confidence that order (and HECO electricity) will be restored. We may also get the bill for this war to regain our freedom to use air conditioners and our laundry room. It may cost us dearly, but we will have prevailed. I am sure of it.

What that rat did was unthinkable, and we must begin to guard our borders. It is not acceptable that any undocumented rat can pass through our CCTV  perimeter and evade our security staff. Henceforth, all rats will be held collectively responsible. To start with, security will round up any rats found loitering near electrical or other essential installations. They (the rats) will be confined in cages and treated humanely. Yes, we’ll treat them just like we treat our fellow humans.

We’d be smart to consider constructing a security fence around the property to keep illegal rats from crossing over (pet rats must have chips implanted and submit a loyalty oath).

This is the American way.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s talk about that word “security” and how it’s been used since 9/11 in referring to the border between Mexico and the United States.

JOSEPH NEVINS: Well, “security” is—it’s a user-friendly term, I mean, in the sense that it means almost anything to anyone, depending on who’s employing it. And in the case of the US-Mexico boundary, “security” has become the excuse for almost anything. While the term “security” was used prior to 9/11 to justify the buildup that began, for example, under the Clinton administration in 1994, 1995, it’s been employed to a far greater extent over the last few years.

And so, today, if you go to the US Border Patrol’s website, for example, the first thing they talk about, in terms of what their mission is, is to fight terrorism. Right? Now, what terrorists are crossing the US-Mexico boundary? There’s not been a single so-called terrorist caught crossing the US-Mexico boundary before or after 9/11, right? So that begs the question: what is the US Border Patrol doing? Well, the US Border Patrol, in the larger system, the larger Department of Homeland Security, of which the Border Patrol is now a part, are basically about—what they’re about is catching, for the most part, people who are looking for jobs, people who are trying to rejoin their families.

If I could just read one quote from the book, this comes from an article from Reason magazine. It has this incredible quote from a US Border Patrol agent, a Border Patrol agent who, by the way, is a media spokesperson, so he’s been trained by the US Border Patrol to present the best face. And here’s what he said to a reporter last year, quote: “We’re fortunate enough to be a country where there are lots of opportunities. And most of the people who we run into out here want to make that dream happen. Unfortunately, it’s our job to stop that dream. That’s what we do on an everyday basis." So, on the one hand, the Border Patrol is saying, “We’re all about security. We’re fighting terrorism.” On the other hand, when you talk to the actual Border Patrol agents—I mean, some of them buy into that rhetoric of security, but a lot of them understand in a very deep way what they’re actually doing, right, and that is, helping to deny people basic human rights, as this Border Patrol agent so eloquently said. [Democracy Now, 6/20/2008]

Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid (City Lights Open Media)
by Joseph Nevins

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Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the 'Illegal Alien' and the Remaking of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary
by Joseph Nevins

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Update: There was a short story on the power problem in yesterday’s Star-Bulletin. It’s amazing how many factual errors the story contains. Also, one resident complained about poor maintenance, so that got put into a pull quote, but actually, IMHO, we have one of the best maintained condos in Honolulu.


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I look forward to the day when the broader society - not just those of us on the "fringe" - wake up and recognize what is going on at the borders and see it for what it really is: pure, unadulterated racialized oppression.

One of these days, perhaps all of the folks running around right now feeling totally justified in their demonization of impoverished, desperate indigenous people driven off their land base by policies like NAFTA will feel as deeply ashamed of themselves as those germans who never lifted a finger to save the Jews.

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